IT Predictions for 2011


by Samuel Greengard

What's a New Year without a few predictions? Here's my two cents worth in regard to major IT and technology trends I see unfolding in 2011: The Consumerization of IT will accelerate. There's no way to stop the avalanche of iPhones, Androids and other personal devices in the enterprise. A word to the wise: start figuring out how to integrate these smartphones while providing a necessary level of protection.

Social media will get smarter. There's no denying the value of Twitter, Facebook and other services--assuming they're used effectively. However, add in BI and analytics tools, and you've evolved from peashooter to laser guided missile.

IT will reign in the cloud hype. Yes, clouds are A Big Thing (even if they've been around for years in one form or another). Fortunately, business and IT leaders are starting to get their heads out of the clouds as they sort through vendor propaganda and learn how to put them to use in the real world.

Organizations will refocus on endpoint security and DRM. It's nearly impossible to protect data by locking down the growing tangle of devices and systems. And then there's WikiLeaks. Organizations are beginning to understand the need to use DLP and DRM to focus on data rather than the device.

Image recognition appears on the radar. Google Goggles is remarkable--even if it doesn't work half the time (give it a few more years). Meanwhile, universities, law enforcement agencies, the military and businesses are all looking for ways to put cameras, computers and software together to spot people in crowds, track employee behavior and even recognize when a person is in danger of a heart attack. App stores hit the enterprise. A few companies, including IBM, have figured out that the Apple App store model can work quite well within an enterprise. Among other things, it limits downloads to authorized applications, based on roles and rules--thus creating order from mobile device chaos.

GRC will become a bigger migraine. It's basic physics: combine a mélange of IT initiatives--including interconnected servers and social networks--and risk expands exponentially. Heap on top of this the growing business impact of context-aware computing and location-based services and it's clear that privacy and data protection will demand greater thinking and resources.